By Oliver Sacks

ISBN-10: 0375704078

ISBN-13: 9780375704079

Like The guy Who Mistook His spouse for a Hat, this can be a interesting voyage right into a unusual and lovely land, a provocative meditation on conversation, biology, version, and culture.  In Seeing Voices, Oliver Sacks turns his cognizance to the topic of deafness, and the result's a deeply felt portrait of a minority suffering for acceptance and respect--a minority with its personal wealthy, occasionally unbelievable, tradition and designated visible language, a unprecedented mode of conversation that tells us a lot concerning the foundation of language in listening to humans to boot. Seeing Voices is, as Studs Terkel has written, "an beautiful, in addition to revelatory, work."

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While there are many types of neurons in the neocortex, one broad class of them comprises eight out of every ten cells. These are the pyramidal neurons, so called because their cell bodies are shaped roughly like pyramids. Except for the top layer of the six-layered cortex, which has miles of axons but very few cells, every layer contains pyramidal cells. Each pyramidal neuron connects to many other neurons in its immediate neighborhood, and each sends a lengthy axon laterally out to more distant regions of cortex or down to lower brain structures like the thalamus.

There appears to be a large philosophical gulf between a collection of cells and our conscious experience, yet mind and brain are one and the same. In calling this a hypothesis, Crick was being politically correct. That the cells in our brains create the mind is a fact, not a hypothesis. We need to understand what these thirty billion cells do and how they do it. Fortunately, the cortex is not just an amorphous blob of cells. We can take a deeper look at its structure for ideas about how it gives rise to the human mind.

These layers are formed by variations in the density of cell bodies, cell types, and their connections. All neurons have features in common. Apart from a cell body, which is the roundish part you imagine when you think of a cell, they also have branching, wirelike structures called axons and dendrites. When the axon from one neuron touches the dendrite of another, they form small connections called synapses. Synapses are where the nerve impulse from one cell influences the behavior of another cell.

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Seeing Voices by Oliver Sacks

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